Friday, September 08, 2006

Giving Away Info to Sidestep Phone Tree Hassles

Yahoo! Tech blogger Chris Null introduces a new Web-based service that navigates those ultra-annoying phone tree labyrinths at the other end of customer service lines for you. It's called Bringo! and this dog can fetch, but not without a catch. The stipulation to using the service is that you must provide your phone number.

Apparently Bringo is still a beta -- but it's more than a bit disturbing that it has been launched publicly -- not to mention raved about by the venerable Null -- with a TOS does little more than state: "The lawyers have the privacy policy for their final review."

Supposedly one of the founders is based in Poland and who's to think another founder is in Romania or elsewhere. Either way, it would be nice if the site wasn't so casual about their privacy guarantees -- they not only collect your name and number, but can access a whole lot more once they enter the phone tree of your credit card company or financial advisor.


Elke Kolodinski said...

Wow, good that Null added that little disclaimer to be careful if you're inputting your SSN or something. Bringo! can SAY they're not collecting phone numbers. They can SAY anything they want until the TOS is up -- and even after that, if they break the TOS, how long would it be before anybody would know, they said "oops!" and sold our personal data? I want to trust companies providing a cool, new, free service to showcase their prowess, I really do. But should I?

Mark said...

HEY...disclaimer...I'm one of the BRINGO founders (mark). I hear you loud and clear and can assure you that we are a reputable US-based company who are pushing our lawyers to move quickly but we just put up a beta test and didn't expect the publicity so quickly. I know there's no better answer than posting the final TOS, but the truth is the truth...and our respect for privacy is strict, our business model has nothing to do with leveraging anyone's phone numbers, and we simply won't do anything with your #'s except call you when you request a call. That's it.

Thanks for staying focused on privacy concerns, we are right there with you... and sorry that we have not already posted our bullet-proof TOS, etc...What can I say but...lawyers...well, I shouldn't say anything untoward about an entire profession. We'll keep you posted on our progress. Thanks everyone.